Nasty insult that’s aimed at all Queenslanders

IT never does well to call another person stupid.

Do so, and you can't expect them to like you. And you always run the risk of egg on your face, when you're the one to make a foolish mistake.

Left-wing activists from the southern states have been portraying Queenslanders as stupid for months. After the NSW state election in March, your columnist cheekily hopped on to the comments section at Guardian Australia to see how the comrades were digesting the news of Gladys Berejiklian's victory. There was one common theme, angrily repeated: "NSW is the new Queensland".

They didn't mean it as a compliment.

Terms like "knuckle-draggers" and "red-necks" are also commonly found when these people talk about Queensland and Queenslanders.

And they wonder why we wouldn't vote for parties of the left.

An image circulating online which appeared in a story on the ABC website.
An image circulating online which appeared in a story on the ABC website.

Even in the aftermath of their well-earned defeat, the insults continue.

No less than the ABC on Monday republished without a hint of disapproval offensive images depicting Queensland as Homer Simpson and suggesting the rest of Australia eject it from the Commonwealth.

It goes without saying that this hostility towards the Sunshine State from the left nationally is an enormous, shocking and desperately unwanted problem for state Labor. Bill Shorten and co have trashed the brand.

An image circulating online which appeared in a story on the ABC website.
An image circulating online which appeared in a story on the ABC website.

The effect was most clearly evident last Saturday in the northern Gold Coast seat of Forde.

There, Labor had a top-notch candidate in Des Hardman, a likeable, hard-working local who ran an excellent campaign. Yet he suffered an enormous swing against him.

The damage was done at a national level. It is hard to find anyone in Forde with a bad word to say about Mr Hardman personally. Trying to find people with a bad word to say about "Labor" in this federal election was far less difficult.

In the days leading up to election day, the point was, I thought, well illustrated by advertisements on TV. In his own ads, Mr Hardman came across very well. But they were invariably followed by Labor attacks ads, authorised in Canberra, which portrayed Liberal rivals in ghoulish black and white, painted a picture of a nation more broken than Venezuela and as good as put devil horns on the head of Scott Morrison.

 

 

Labor candidate for Forde Des Hardman, whose chances were ruined by the national Labor campaign. Picture: Mike Batterham
Labor candidate for Forde Des Hardman, whose chances were ruined by the national Labor campaign. Picture: Mike Batterham

Most ridiculous of all was the climate change advertisement. People accuse Scott Morrison of going biblical, indeed he hinted at it himself when he spoke of "miracles" in his victory speech on Saturday night.

But hell and damnation, Labor's climate change ad, full of violent tempests and untameable storms, certainly took the Old Testament biscuit. Were we really to believe the implied message that Bill Shorten, like a modern-day Moses, could lead us to safety from blazing fires and raging seas?

Following all that, likeable, relatable Mr Hardman was easily forgotten.

The bruising experience quite obviously contains brutal lessons for state Labor and the government of Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Thanks to the work of their southern counterparts, the word "Labor" now hangs heavy around their necks. In very many ways, they are different in approach to their southern counterparts. Ms Palaszczuk governs far more from the centre than Mr Shorten proposed to do with his self-defeating extreme left agenda.

The challenge for Ms Palaszczuk and her team will be ensuring voters make the distinction.

But in another key way, they risk repeating one of federal Labor's greatest mistakes.

Just as Mr Shorten appealed to inner Melbourne and Sydney electorates, and proved tone deaf to the regions, state Labor has found itself increasingly obsessed with all things Brisbane.

Pledging at least $5 billion of scarce state resources to a train tunnel though the capital may play well in the river city, but is unlikely to impress electors in Charleville or Rockhampton. In fact, it doesn't even impress many on the northern Gold Coast, although they would benefit. No matter how hard Labor push it, nobody in Coomera or Pimpama, except the odd Labor die-hard, is all that concerned about Cross River Rail.

Neither are any of them eager to see Brisbane hosting an Olympics, another vanity project for the capital that risks costing the state many billions.

Meanwhile people elsewhere feel short-changed.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has the task of distancing her government from the policies of federal Labor that proved so wildly unpopular in Queensland. Picture: AAP Image
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has the task of distancing her government from the policies of federal Labor that proved so wildly unpopular in Queensland. Picture: AAP Image

Compared to Cross River Rail, there is nothing like the same urgency about building the "Coomera Connector". Or in extending heavy rail to reach Gold Coast Airport.

And while the State Government has indicated it will proceed with Cross River Rail even if the Federal Government fails to provide a single cent, the Gold Coast's light rail extension is stalled by a row over how much the feds will provide.

Opportunities to contribute to state coffers though - think all those extra speed cameras and pokie machines - are not something we ever miss out on.

If state Labor wants to avoid the fate of its federal counterpart, it must start think far less about Brisbane, and more about Bundy and Burleigh.

Cross River Rail could be quietly long-fingered, and the focus switched elsewhere. They know how to do it if they want. A rare frog might be found along the route. Or a finch - we could see a great migration from the Galilee Basin.

Or there could be a funding stoush. After all, if the feds must contribute to the Gold Coast's light rail, shouldn't the same hold true for Brisbane?

Labor figures would also be well advised to stop reading The Guardian and switch off the ABC. Too much of both is sure to leave you hopelessly tin-eared.

If there was ever any doubt, a return to the comments section of the Guardian last Saturday most certainly proved the point.

Well before the results started flowing in, there was a lively discussion about how election night would be celebrated.

A discussion among the same sort of people who demanded Queenslanders destroy their own livelihoods for the sake of a grand national virtue signal on climate change.

"Have my election dinner menu ready," wrote one. "Entree: Melon and prosciutto served with pink sparkling wine. Main: Beef wellington and a coonawara (sic) cab sav. Dessert: Chocolate profiteroles with zambucca (sic)."

And they call us Queenslanders stupid.



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